Roxane Gay, co-editor of PANK, contributes an essay to the new issue of Kugelmass titled “The Art of the Rejection of Rejection.” She writes about some of the silly and amusing responses she gets from writers who have been rejected from PANK. One writer responds “Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree the work is one of my weaker efforts, but I had the idea that I might find a place for it if only I set my sites low enough.” Gay writes, “I did not alter his spelling so the irony, as you might imagine, amused me greatly.”
But still some writers respond in a much more melancholy manner; “[the responses] are tough because it’s clear the writer is having some kind of emotional crisis and/or has their self-esteem inextricably bound to their literary success or lack thereof.” But ultimately, it is not up to the editors to make decisions based on how the rejection “might affect a writer’s life.”
Gay rounds out her essay with a statement that I think we can all identify with, whether it is about ourselves as writers or about writers we have workshopped or worked with: “It is fascinating . . . how writers are not able to separate their writing from themselves. They view constructive feedback as a personal attack, a personal insult, an editorial sin that can never be forgiven.”
There are more essays in this issue from Jenny Allen, Sam Allard, and Katherine Spurlock as well as poetry from Edward Curtis, Denise Duhamel and Amy Lemmon, Jessy Randall and Daniel M. Shapiro, David Kirby, Christopher Citro, Mark Cunningham, and Buff Whitman-Bradley and stories from Robert Atwan, Courtney Maum, Sophie Kipner, Dan Pope, Timothy C. Dyke, and Dan Moreau.